The concept of the Mittani as the champion for the little man in EVE, the Newb and Joe the Plumber is a little hard to swallow for anyone who watched him during the Fanfest. But it is indisputable that he and his organization have
one of the most prolific player communit iesy in the game. It is for their action that many new subscribers try the game and stay and their Wiki is solid source of information for new players. Love them or not, the Goons are good for EVE.
With this out of the way, one quick note. Its not about Alex Gianturco the person of course. The goons preceded his presence and will likely live after his eventual step-down as CEO. But The Mittani has successfully done what marketing professionals dream about – the transition from product to recognizable brand. This happened sometime over the last year and given the slightly anarchic nature of EVE Online, it wasn’t all that obvious. Name the CEO of TEST or Solar Fleet. See? No idea either. Sure, there are lots of famous “players” but none have achieved the transition to brand as effectively as The Mittani.
JadeCougar from Lost in EVE fame is one of the famous EVE personae. I was in his corp and alliance for over 1 year and we talked many times about the online community and how to build it. One (my..) idea was to build a community-driven news and information site out of LiE – where guest bloggers would be invited to write pieces about specific themes in EVE, very similar to Wow Inside. This project would have used Jade’s brand to attract solid and recognized bloggers, develop exclusive content and further his brand – therefore would work in his favor. In business this is very common. You use a brand like a battering ram to break into a new market. But I never followed through with it. On one side, I realized that it was a phenomenal amount of work. On the other side, whats in there for me? I don’t want to be cynical but the problem with rallying behind some else’s brand is that you can’t build your own. And if then something goes wrong with the relationship, you are – quite literally – nobody.
But I am very glad to see that someone else had the same idea and executed it very well. TheMittani.com is such a news and opinion portal based on the Mittani brand, very similar what I had in mind for Jade’s brand. The solid design and deluge of content is a testimony towards the Goon’s ability to shape the game in any way they want. Organizational skill, dedication to the cause and community building are something that the goons are extremely good at – not surprisingly then that this is already very well received by the giants of the blogosphere (e.g. Seismic Stan and Jester). And make no mistake, the TheMittani.com crew is very clear on the branding advantage
“The Mittani” has become a brand: one of the most recognisable and googled phrases or labels in Eve, it simply has recognition value that we would have struggled to create with anything else. I wanted us to profit from the better part of a decade of work and history that many new websites would give their right arm to possess. http://themittani.com/about
By the way, the site looks good. It has well written articles covering a relatively broad spectrum of the game and while some articles are built on extremely thin and rather boring material (a girl plays EVE! gosh, hold the presses!) other articles almost border on insightful. I will certainly browse this site in the future. Interestingly, there is no index of authors. The authors are not linked out – this means, they can not really use this site to further their personal brand much. Tying your reputation to someone else’s brand and product? Risky and again, kudos to the goons not to go the middle way (as I would have done) but all out.
The Rest of Us
Ok, having this established, how does this affect the blogosphere? Well, it depends who you are talking about
The giants (Jester, Freebooted etc) will likely not notice any significant drop in their prominence any time soon. They have – effectively – created their own brand already and can likely draw on a loyal audience. Sure, they have to pick up their game a little and can’t slack or face erosion of their readership. Or they can – and I expect them to – join TheMittani and feature as guest bloggers or columnists, therefore using the Mittani to drive their own product to the market.
It gets different on the next tier – the not-so famous bloggers. The Mittani will divert eyes from our sites – a person only has that much time to read about a game – maybe this will not be noticeable at first but it absolutely has the potential to change the landscape. Some blogs will specialize even more. There are already some great and very specialized blogs out there for e.g. Fan Fiction, Wormhole Combat and excellent new ones come online all the time. Sites with mixed content (like mine) may see lower hit numbers and may have to do some soul-searching what the overall goal is – a useful exercise in any case. I am worried more about new players coming into EVE Online and thinking that TheMittani is pretty much the only place to go and neither browse for alternative views or start their own. Now, that would really be a shame.
Bringing it home
I believe that TheMittani.com will be good for the EVE Online community. It will provide a solid gateway to well-written and maybe even factually correct information. It will force the big bloggers to pick up their game and us small bloggers to find our niches and drill deep rather than spread wide. I genuinely wish TheMittani well and will make them my first port of call in the mornings over coffee.